The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 22, May 29, 2016, Article 29


Bill Rosenblum submitted these notes about the Kansas University Wilcox coin collection. Thanks! -Editor

I thought I would pass along a little information about the Kansas University coin collection I visited last week. I also visited the WWI museum in Kansas City. Fantastic museum but except for one small case and an item here or there, it was lacking in numismatic items on display.

This past week Rita and I drove to Lawrence, Kansas to watch our eldest grandson graduate with honors from Free State High School. Not often do I get to see a relative graduate with a 4.0+ for fours years of high school and was one (of 17!) valedictorians. They value education in university towns. Forgive me for the bit of bragging about my grandson but I added a numismatic connection with a picture of one side of the medal he was presented with.

Free State High School valedictorian medal My main reason for writing is talk about the KU Wilcox coin collection. In all my years of visiting my grandchildren (and their parents) in Lawrence I have tried to see the collection but I or my son Brian have been too late in our request. This past week I had an hour or so on both Monday and Tuesday to see what they have.

My son Brian is "digital" librarian at KU and he hooked me up with Phil Stinson. Phil is a professor of Classics and is co-director with Brian of their digital humanities center, and has recently been appointed head of the Wilcox Museum at KU. Their inventory lists about 6000 coins in the collection but probably less than 1/3 have been located. And the majority of those were found after 20+ years of being buried in a basement on campus.

Most of the coins have been donated by 4 or 5 people although I believe some were purchased years ago. The grades run from poor to near mint state. Most of the coins are ancient but there were some California gold fantasies, some Crusader pieces as well as some nice (and not so nice) early Islamic coins. The last donation was the "best" that I saw and the former owner had purchased some of the coins from Pegasi and Herb Kreindler. In addition I saw envelopes from the old-time dealer Edward Gans as well as what looked like envelopes of both Charles and his son Charlie Wolfe (or was it Wolf) of Ohio. The elder dealt in ancients, the younger in medieval coins.

Phil is looking for volunteer help in cataloguing and photographing the collection. One of the images I've attached show how the collection is basically stored. If someone who lives near Lawrence and wants to help in anyway please contact me and I can put you in touch with Phil.

Kansas University coin collection Kansas University coin collection display

In addition Phil is looking for ideas on how to display the coins. The 50 or coins are now displayed in two glass (or plexiglass) frames so that they are visible on both sides. Unfortunately to look at the reverse you have to step over numerous wires. The lighting is poor and the coins do "move around" in the holder. Most of the coins I looked at were genuine although the large Syracuse Dekadrachm in the display case is a British Museum electrotype. There were a couple of other pieces that were questionable but unfortunately I neglected to bring a glass or a scale.

I know there are a number of numismatic museum curators and others who have helped with displaying coins. If you have any ideas Phil would be eternally grateful. If the coins are available for viewing a few of the viewers might just become hooked on numismatics.

So - can anyone help out? -Editor
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Wayne Homren, Editor

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